[JURIST] The United Nations will not open an investigation into the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive], UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told reporters [press conference transcript] Tuesday. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari [official website; JURIST news archive], who is Bhutto's widower, has repeatedly called [JURIST report] for the UN to conduct an inquiry similar to the ongoing investigation into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive] which has already led to the establishment of a Special Tribunal for Lebanon [official website]. Speaking at a press conference in New York, Ban said that the UN would opt for a fact-finding commission rather than an investigation:
We have an agreement that there will be sort of some commission established under the United Nations, but [we are discussing] any detailed technical matters of who should be appointed as commission members and how it should be funded and how long it should be and what would be the scope. It is not going to be an investigation but we are looking at finding out all the situations on this assassination of Mrs. Bhutto. But we are still discussing this matter with the Pakistani Government.The comments marked the first time Ban had ruled out an investigation. Pakistan Daily has more.
The National Assembly of Pakistan [official website] formally called for a UN probe [JURIST report] into Bhutto's assassination in April, despite statements from then-President Pervez Musharraf that the investigations would be conducted internally [JURIST report]. The prospect of an international probe into the killing garnered some criticism [Guardian report] within Pakistan itself, and the US, supporting Musharraf, took the position that a UN investigation was unnecessary. In July, the UN said that it had reached a "broad understanding" [press release; JURIST report] with Pakistan on logistical issues and questions of access to government officials central to a potential investigation into Bhutto's assassination. Bhutto was killed [JURIST report] in December 2007 at a political rally in Rawalpindi after she returned to the country from exile to lead her party in parliamentary elections.